Designer of current Indian logo speaks out over ongoing debate, controversy

Mar 7, 2022

Nearly half a century ago, then-Dartmouth High football star Clyde Andrews wanted to commemorate his team’s undefeated 1974 season by redesigning the Indian logo the school had sported since the 1950s. 

Andrews, a member of the federally recognized Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah, says he never imagined that his design would become the subject of controversy and a non-binding referendum in the upcoming town election.

At the time of that undefeated season, the school logo depicted a Native American from the Great Plains, something Andrews said his mother Edith — who helped bring federal recognition to the tribe in 1987 — wanted to fix to ensure her people were represented more accurately.

“The old one had an Indian wearing a full headdress,” Andrews recalled. “We would never wear that out here.”

Prior to the ‘50s, school uniforms simply carried the name “Dartmouth.”

An avid artist, Andrews immediately got to work on the profile of an Eastern Woodlands Indian who was actually native to the area prior to European colonization.

“That’s what our people would have looked like then,” Andrews said.

Andrews also stressed that the Indian is not a mascot. 

Having his people be used as a caricature at games and other school events, he said, would be offensive.

“It’s not like the Redskins or the smiling Cleveland Indian,” he said. “It’s a perfect rendition of history.”

Initially Andrews’ drawing was placed on the patch of 80 jackets for football players and coaches. Now, his design adorns the walls of Dartmouth High and the helmets of its football players. 

In recent years, the high school’s name and logo has been the subject of controversy, with school officials currently debating whether to remove the iconography.

Opponents of the logo have argued that its depiction is offensive and harmful to Native Americans — something Andrews said he takes exception to.

“It’s not derogatory at all,” he said, adding that fellow tribal members he’s spoken to who live in Dartmouth feel the same way. “It’s my way of paying homage to Native Americans who walked these lands here.”

Instead, he said he and many of his fellow tribe members feel great pride to see an accurate depiction of their people be so prominent in town.

“You never see it on the ground in any of the school facilities,” Andrews noted. “It’s always in a place where it can be seen with the word ‘pride’ underneath it.”

The Dartmouth High alumnus added that many also take pride in seeing the name and logo be associated with winning sports teams and seeing it on the truck of the national championship-winning marching band’s truck.

“It’s a name and symbol associated with success,” he said.

Ultimately, Andrews said he hopes people vote in favor of keeping the logo, and that the School Committee takes that vote into consideration when deciding the logo’s fate.

“The town’s proud of it — to see it go away would be a big shame,” he said. “Many generations went to school or played under that symbol — it’d be like taking a piece of you away.”

His younger sister Cheryl Andrews-Malatais is the current chair of the Wampanoag tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah. She has also also shared her brother’s sentiments.

If the town plans to get rid of the name and logo, Andrews said he hopes that the school district will collaborate with his tribe to incorporate Native American history into the high school’s curriculum.

“A lot of people think we’re extinct,” he said. “We’re not — we’re thriving and we have a voice.”